The Tennessee Vols are still very much in the mix to land Hugh Freeze as their next offensive coordinator.
While it’s possible that Freeze is hired elsewhere, there’s still a good possibility he ends up in Knoxville.
If Freeze ends being hired by Tennessee, the assumption is that he would also coach quarterbacks (Tyson Helton, the man he’d be replacing, coached quarterbacks).
But I’m not sure that would be the best move for the Vols.
Freeze has never coached quarterbacks at the collegiate level and it might not be the best idea for him to learn on the job. A quarterbacks coach can make or break an offense. Freeze obviously possesses a bright offensive mind, but asking him to do something he’s never done before might not be smart.
When Freeze was was hired by Ole Miss in 2006, he coached tight ends for two seasons. I think that’s the group he should coach if he’s hired by Tennessee.
That would mean a bit of shuffling around for the Vols’ current staff.
Brian Niedermeyer, who currently coaches tight ends for UT, could slide over and coach running backs.
There are rumblings that Chris Weinke, Tennessee’s running backs coach at the moment, could join Alabama’s Mike Locksley at Maryland (if Locksley is hired by the Terrapins).
#Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley wins the 2018 Broyles Award.. a big week for him could become a huge week if Maryland brings him back as Terps head coach.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 4, 2018
If Niedermeyer coaches running backs and Weinke leaves, it leaves a spot open on the staff at quarterbacks coach.
At that point, the best move for the Vols would be to poach Dan Werner, Freeze’s offensive coordinator at Ole Miss, from South Carolina.
Werner helped Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley turn his season around this year.
After the season, Bentley said of Werner “Coach Werner is probably one of the biggest blessings, biggest helps I’ve had in college. It’s just his overall knowledge of the game and how he approaches it and what he’s brought to our offense has been great for us.”
If the Vols make these moves, I think fans would be very happy. I also think it would set Tennessee up to be very successful in 2019 and beyond.
But this is all predicated on the Vols hiring Freeze. For now, that’s a move that’s completely up in the air.
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